I’ve read a number of articles lately about the effect of well-behaved, friendly dogs on people. Our local paper had one saying Santa Fe, New Mexico is now one of the communities with a reading dog program. The dogs are specially trained to help children improve their reading and communication skills by being supportive as the children read to them.
Then the August 10, 2010 Economist had an article entitled Manager’s Best Friend. It explains that the presence of a dog can help groups at work be more cooperative and effective in solving problems.
But the article I enjoyed the most was this one by the
Best Friends Animal Society. It demonstrates that it doesn’t have to be a real dog to have a profound effect. A picture can have magical effects too. A woman with Alzheimer’s disease had been slipping away from her family until she received a card with a picture of a happy dog with a cat draped over its head:
Now, when 87-year-old Sarah Harrell looks at the card with the photo of a “happy, smiling puppy face and tiny kitten draped over its head, she becomes happy, animated, alert and close to being our old Mom again,” Judy says. “Because she so loves the photo, I have it in a frame, and she now keeps it on the table near where she spends much of her day.”
I can understand that. Seeing a dog walking with its owner downtown always lifts my spirits and warms my heart. But so does looking at our Golden Retriever calendar and seeing the pictures on the Daily Puppy. It’s not quite as good as the real thing, of course, but it’s surprising how much it helps for those of us who don’t have pets.
What about you? How do you lift your spirits and warm your heart? How do you bring out the best in yourself?